“You Have to Take Out Their Families”

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What it might be like if the real Mafia ran the country.

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said Tuesday that the United States should “take out” the family members of terrorists in the effort to fight ISIS.

Asked during a Fox News interview about civilian casualties in the fight against the terror group, Trump replied that terrorists are “using them as shields.”

“But we’re fighting a very politically correct war,” he added. “And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”

—NBC News, December 2015
The murder was a shock even in a region of Italy where tit-for-tat revenge killings between mobsters have reached epidemic levels. It was a grim reminder of how far the reality of the modern Mafia differs from the “code of honour” myth popularized in The Godfather and other movies. If there was ever a time when women, children and bystanders were safe, it was long ago.

—London Daily Mirror, April 2014
Back in 1979, some Americans were tired of political bickering and had lost confidence in President Jimmy Carter’s ability to deal with tough problems. Writer Victor Gold played off the nation’s desire for no-nonsense leadership with a Washingtonian story that imagined voters in 1980 turning to a Mafia boss to straighten things out. Some excerpts:

It was an offer, as Time magazine pointed out, we couldn’t refuse. We were a nation in search of leadership, and after the Irish Mafia in the White House, followed by the Texas Mafia, them the California and Georgia Mafias, the search looked hopeless.

Bunglers all. The Irish Mafia, for all their tough talk, let a two-peso punk muscle into our Caribbean turf; the Texas Mafia botched a simple contract hit in Southeast Asia; the California Mafia couldn’t even handle a third-rate burglary; the less said about the Georgia Mafia, the better.

So it was that by 1980 the American people, so disgusted by the failure of imitation Mafias to do something right, were ready to turn to the real thing—the Mafia Mafia.

As the Boss of Bosses informed us in his inaugural address, we were going to be “one happy family.”

Right from the start—the memorable address from the Capitol steps—we knew we had a man in charge.

The text, which was delivered in short, staccato bursts, was notable for its raw simplicity….The following morning, the Boss of Bosses held his first and only news conference. He was asked to spell out his agenda for the country. “That’s a good question,” he replied. “Don’t ask it again.”

No hemming and hawing: finally there was someone in the Oval Office who wouldn’t bend to the winds of public opinion.

The Washington Post complained about infringements on press freedom, and the Star objected when members of the Cabinet—renamed the Commission—refused to speak to reporters. But the vast majority of Americans were ready for a leadership that gave them more action and less talk.

“For the first time in years,” wrote one reporter, “we have a woman in the White House who, when asked, says she doesn’t know what her husband’s business is and doesn’t want to know.”

After reordering the priorities of his administration team, the Boss of Bosses was ready to tackle the problem of world peace, which he did in December 1981 at the Appalachian summit meeting.

Ever major world leader, along with a few territorial capos, was in attendance. That was a historic first. But the real first was that for once the American people were sending a chief executive into the negotiations with foreign leaders figuring our side had the edge.

On the morning preceding the big sit-down, the Ayatollah Khomeini and Muammar Qaddafi each woke up to find a sacred ram’s head at the foot of the bed.

By noon of the second day, forever after known as the Day of a Hundred Embraces, it was all wrapped up. Signed, sealed, and delivered.
Okay, Vic made it all up and maybe went a little overboard. Things would never get so bad in American politics that we’d turn to someone who believed in the Mafia’s way of dealing with problems.




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